Mary Churchill

Mary Churchill

Mary Churchill is the creator of the Higher Ed Policy blog and founding editor of the University of Venus blog at Inside Higher Ed. In addition to creating Higher Ed Policy and University of Venus at Inside Higher Ed and Old School, New School at The Chronicle Mary is regularly invited to write and present on higher ed policy issues related to equity, workforce development, and the future of education. She is the co-author of When Colleges Close: Leading in a Time of Crisis (Spring 2021, Johns Hopkins University Press) which details the merger of Wheelock College and Boston University. She is also co-producer and co-host of several higher ed podcasts: Rocking the AcademyView from Venus, and ExperiencED

Mary is passionate about equity and the role of public engagement in higher education. In her thirty years of leadership experience, she has tirelessly advocated for a new paradigm of leadership informed by diversity, collaboration, and equity. She earned her Ph.D. and M.A. in Sociology from Northeastern University in Boston and is a Professor of Practice at Boston University. She has taught courses in Higher Education Administration, International Studies, Sociology, and Political Science.

Mary is currently Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives and Community Engagement at Boston University's Wheelock College of Education and Human Development where she also serves as Director of the Higher Education Administration program and Professor of Practice. Mary serves as a trustee on the board of Benjamin Franklin Cummings Institute of Technology in Boston and chairs the academic affairs committee of the board. Prior to her role at Boston University, she was the Vice President for Academic Affairs at Wheelock College in Boston. Mary serves as an advisor in the American Council on Education's (ACE) Learner Success Lab. She is also on the Women's Network Executive Council at the ACE and on the board of the Massachusetts Network of Women Leaders in Higher Education which is focused on advancing women leaders in higher education. As an executive coach for senior leaders in the higher education sector, Mary works directly with a limited number of high-level professionals and board members.

In 2021, Mary served as Chief of Policy and Planning in Boston as a member of the Janey Administration. She and her husband and their teen son are active in their Roxbury neighborhood in Boston and Mary serves on several community-based committees and boards. Originally from the “pets or meat” world portrayed in Michael Moore’s Flint, Michigan; she was the first in her family to attend college.

Mary can be reached by e-mail at [email protected] and she can also be found on Twitter (@mary_churchill) and LinkedIn.

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Most Recent Articles

September 6, 2010
Vacation is supposed to be a time away from one’s normal routine – an escape from the drudgery of day-to-day life. However, when you are trained to critique and engage in critical dialogue, it becomes virtually impossible to unplug and escape. This is the conundrum of an academic on vacation. We can’t stop thinking and we don't really want to.
August 22, 2010
Atlanta in August – hot, humid, and sticky.It had been seven years since I had attended the American Sociological Association’s annual meeting. I had been finishing up my PhD and planned to join the ranks of the tenure-track – the annual conference was mysterious and terrifying. Since then, my life has taken a very different path. I finished my PhD in 2004 and was pregnant within the month. The following year I was offered a high-powered academic dean position and turned my back on tenure-track.
August 8, 2010
My office-mate Jessica spat those words out in exasperation one afternoon as she raced into the office with a pile of papers to grade and I raced out, laptop and lecture notes tucked under my arm. We were teaching, working at administrative jobs, finishing up our dissertations, and also working hard on our marriages/partnerships. At that time, neither of us had children but we both knew that we wanted to find time to add a kid or two to the mix and we also knew that something was going to have to give.
July 25, 2010
When William Julius Wilson wrote When Work Disappears in 1996, he wasn’t saying that work was actually disappearing. He was saying that work as urban poor folks had known it had been forever changed – factory jobs with benefits had all but disappeared. Today, new positions at factories receive thousands of applications and people are willing to move their families halfway across the country for a full-time job with health insurance. I grew up in a GM family in Flint, Michigan. My father worked night shifts on the line.


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